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How Do Car Fridges Work

Car fridges are portable essential refrigerators for keeping items cool or warm in vehicles, according to the fridge’s functions and performance. However, car fridges work differently from traditional home fridges, and understanding how they work helps you get the best out of them. So, how do car fridges work?

How Do Car Fridges Work

Car fridges work with the same principles as household refrigerators. Designed to keep the interior cool, the compressor works round the clock to keep the temperature below 20° while thermoelectric fridges work by using the Peltier Effect to keep the temperature below 30°. Car fridges are of different kinds, and motorists need to understand how particular fridges work.

The way a car fridge works determines performance, efficiency, durability, and may affect the car battery. Choosing the right car fridge will determine how cool it will be throughout the day. While all car fridges essentially look the same, they all work differently.


A car compressor fridge is the most common type of fridge in the country. They are small and portable and are the best choice for camping.

Motorists mostly use this fridge type when out on long drives. They also offer a good amount of performance when compared to their price and power usage. A car compressor uses less power yet is the best fridge for cooling food and drinks. They are equipped to switch between different cooling ranges, depending on the ambient temperature.

How Car Compressor Fridge Work

Compressor fridges work by bumping refrigerant fluid into a high-pressure condenser chamber. This fluid goes through a series of processes to be pressurized in the condenser and enters the lower pressure evaporator. The fluid then bumps hot air from the outside chamber to keep the interior of the fridge cool.


Absorption car fridges can run on both gas and AC/DC. This makes them very versatile and is used by just anyone, notwithstanding the power source. However, absorption car fridges are not compatible with smaller private cars, rather, they are installed in RVs and other bigger vehicles like trucks. An absorption fridge also needs to be constantly connected to a power source, so you may need to install a secondary car battery.

How An Absorption Car Fridge Works

An absorption car fridge works by evaporating refrigerant fluid and absorbing heat from the fridge’s interior.

How An Absorption Car Fridge Works

Pros of using an Absorption Car Fridge


Thermoelectric car fridges are common but as efficient as a compressor fridge. This is reflected in their cheaper first-time cost. Unlike the other types of fridges, a thermoelectric fridge doesn’t drain your finances. Although they barely go below outdoor temperature and are not recommended for long drives or storing food for a long time.

How Thermoelectric Car Fridge Work

Thermoelectric car fridges use the Peltier effect to maintain a consistently low temperature. Current travels between the conductors, heating one end and cooling the other. The cold conductor goes inside the fridge while the other end releases the heat into the atmosphere.


Car compression fridges are more popular among drivers and campers. But why? Let’s look at the advantages of a car compressor fridge over the others to understand its popularity.

Fast Cooling System

The best thing about any car fridge is its cooling system, and compressor fridges are leading in that area. A car fridge compressor can reach low temperatures in less than 20 minutes, depending on power mode and voltage. Advanced compressor fridges can switch between hot and temperatures respectively. This is important for all-year use and consistent performance.

Zero Degree

Making ice while camping can be daunting to impossible, however, ice makes all the difference in every outing. While it is possible to store ice blocks in coolers, they’ll eventually melt. But compressor car fridges can reach low temperatures to turn water into ice. So you need ice? Buy a compressor fridge and keep it in your truck.

Temperature Range

Most car fridges have a single temperature range, therefore, are only useful during one season of the year, or for just cooling your drinks. However, compressor car fridges have two temperature modes, suitable for cooling your drinks and warming your food.

So you can carry cooked food to work or on long drives and simply heat it when you’re ready to eat. Not only does it heat your meal, but it also prevents food poisoning. Performance is also consistent across both temperature ranges.

Weather Resistant

Car compressor fridges are not affected by external weather conditions. These fridges drop below 20 degrees even in hot weather conditions. The temperature will also rise in cold weather conditions according to the climate class specifications on the fridge. Look out for car fridges that are not reliant on external weather for optimal performance.

Stays Cool

A Compressor fridge is designed to remain cool even after hours of disconnection. Motorists no longer have to transfer items between their car fridges and main house refrigerators. This is also important for minimal power consumption as you don’t have to power the fridge throughout your entire drive.


While compressor fridges are the go-to for campers and motorists, certain disadvantages plague them.


Compressor fridges are notorious for making noise when working. This can create mild to intense discomfort while driving. Noise can also affect the driver’s attention on the road. However, advanced compressor fridges are being designed to eliminate noise by designing low-noise products.

Nonetheless, minor damage to your fridge may cause it to make loud noises. If you notice louder noise than usual, we recommend taking your fridge to a professional for maintenance.

Heavy Weight

While car fridges are lauded for portability and being lightweight, compressor car fridges can be heavy and difficult to mobilize all the time. The weight, as well as the size also creates a storage problem for motorists. Big and heavier fridges need bigger space for installation. Hence, making compressor fridges only suitable for use for bigger vehicles or large camping.


Absorption car fridges are inexpensive and portable and are ideal for long drives and camping. But does this car fridge have other advantages? Keep reading to find out.

Low Noise

Do you want cold drinks and warm food, but without the noise that comes with compressor car fridges? Then buying an absorption car fridge is the answer. They work by using electricity instead of a motor that makes loud noises when working. Silent workers; you wouldn’t even know they’re there.

Work with Electricity and Gas

Switch to gas to power your car fridge. An absorption car fridge provides consistent power and performance on both power sources. Absorption car fridges can fit into most cars but are suitable for RVs and other bigger vehicles.

Dual Temperature Control

Switch between temperature controls to enjoy the best of both worlds. Fitted with a dual temperature control button to keep your fridge interior cool in the summer and warm during winter. This saves money as you simply need to buy only 1 car fridge, instead of buying two for the different seasons of the year.



Absorption fridges require careful maintenance and space. If you’re driving long distances, we recommend placing your fridge in a tight locked area to prevent shaking or you can just use another fridge type. Either way, an absorption fridge is prone to damage, and maintenance is required.


Low Noise

Their lack of motor eliminates any source of noise in the car fridge. Enjoy the quiet while it cools your items.

Dual Temperature

You can switch between cool and warm to satisfy your current needs. This feature is important for a consistent fridge performance around the year.


They are inexpensive and easy to install.


Small Storage

Due to their small sizes, owners cannot keep too many items in their car fridges. This makes an unfavorable option for long drives and camping.

Quick Downtime

Fridge quickly goes cold after turning off the power or opening the lid open for a long time.